Eclipta alba

Eclipta alba (L.) Roxb. (Asteraceae)

(2n = 18, 20, 22)

Syn : Eclipta prostrata (L.) Hassk.

English name: Trailing eclipta.

Sanskrit names: Bhringa, Bhringaraja, Kesaraja, Kayyonni, Markava, Tekarajah. Vernacular names: Asm : Kehoraji; Ben: Bhringaraj, Keshurti, Kesuria, Keshurey; Guj : Bhengra; Hin : Babri, Bhangra, Mocakand, Safed bhannra; Kan : Garga; Mal : Kannunni, Kaiyanni, Kayyonni; Man: Oochisumbal; Mar: Maka; Mun : Bhengaj, Piri kesari; Om : Bhengraj; Ori :Kesarda; Sad: Bhengrait; San: Banda-kansa; Tam: Garuga, Kaikesi, Karipan, Kayyantakara; Tel: Galagara, Guntagalyeru.

Trade name: Kesuth

Traditional use: GARO: Leaf: in gastric troubles, hepatic disorders; MANIPURI : (i) Stem-decoction: in liver enlargement; (ii) Leaf-extract: in fever and cough; TOTO: (i) Whole plant: in hepatic problems, spleen troubles; (ii) Root: in ulcers and wounds; (iii) Leaf: as antidote to scorpion sting; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF ORISSA: (i) Plant: in itching; (ii) Leaf: in conjunctivitis and other eye problems, in promoting hairgrowth; SANTAL : (i) Plant-decoction with paste of black pepper: in fever; (ii) Leaf-juice: on wounds; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF BIHAR: (i) Plant: against antifertility, (ii) Root: as antidote to snake bite; (iii) Leaf: in malaria and other fevers; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF ARAKU VALLEY (Madhya Pradesh) : Leaf: in conjunctivitis, eye troubles; IRULAR: Leaf: in jaundice; TRIBAL SOCIETIES OF ANAIKATTY HILLS (Tamil Nadu): Flower bud: in fever, headache; ETHNIC COMMUNITIES OF SALSETTE ISLAND: Leaf: as cooling; TRIBAL SOCIETIES OF SAURASHTRA (Gujarat): Whole Plant: in asthma, bronchitis, leucoderma; TRIBAL SOCIETIES OF EASTERN RAJASTHAN: Leaf: in sores, ulcers, wounds, spleen disorders; TRIBES OF KURUKSHETRA (Haryana) : Leaf: as antiseptic; GARHWALI: (i) Whole plant: in jaundice, spleen disorders; (ii) Leaf: in leucoderma, skin diseases; KOL : Leaf: in malaria; TRIBES OF BASTAR (Madhya Pradesh) : Whole plant: in liver complaints; TRIBES OF CHHINDWARA (Madhya Pradesh) : Leaf: for promoting hair growth; TRIBES OF SAGAR (Madhya Pradesh) : Plant: in toothache, headache, gland swelling, elephantiasis.

ATHARVAVEDA : it affects intelligence and memory, cures bile (pitta) disorders, prevents graying and falling of hairs.

BHAVAPRAKASHA : cures problems caused by phlegm and wind, beneficial for hair, skin, teeth and eyes, removes worms, and also effective in jaundice and oedema; RAJANIGHANTU: beneficial for hairs, eyes, oedema and phlegm; KAIYADEVANIGHANTU : it removes the problems caused by phlegm and wind and worms, beneficial for hair, teeth, skin, cures cough, jaundice and oedema; NIGHANTURATNAKARAM: in addition to the above qualities, this plant invigorates sex; VAIDYAMANORAMA : drinking juice of the plant strengthens the body and secures the foetus in womb.

AYURVEDA : cures headache, migraine; leaves are beneficial for hairs, they remove lice, blacken skin, cure pyorrhoea, chronic dysentery, oedema, nervous weakness, jaundice, anorexia, gum troubles and remove intestinal worms.

Modern use: Herb: in skin diseases; Gum resin (from herb) : anticancerous against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma; Plant(50% EtOH extract) : antiviral, spasmogenic; Plant (aqueous extract) : ovicidal against Sitotroga cereale//a eggs, nematicidal, haemostatic, beneficial in body inflammation, protective against hepatotoxic action of carbon tetrachloride in female guineapigs; Plant (powder) : curative of infective hepatitis, jaundice and viral hepi1titis; Leaf(aqueous extract) : myocardial depressant, hypotensive; Leaf-juice: cures shoulder pain caused by heavy load.

Phytography : Erect or prostrate diffused annual herb with roots at each node; leaves opposite, sessile, oblong-Ianceolate, ±2.5-1 0 cm long, very variable in form and width; heads subglobose, ±1.25 cm broad; flowers white and compressed.

Phenology: Flowering and Fruiting: throughout the year, peak period - August­-February.

Distribution: Throughout India, ascending up to 2000 m; Bangladesh and Pakistan. Ecology and cultivation: Common on damp wastelands, low waterlogged areas, roadsides, grassy humid localities, prefers warm climate; wild.

Chemical contents: Leaf: stigmasterol, a-terthienyl methanol, wedelolactone, de-Me-wedelolactone, small amount of 2-formyl-terthienyl.

Adulterants: In Sanskrit literature, three types of Bhringaraja have been mentioned - white-flowered (E. alba), yellow-flowered (Wede/ia calandulacea) and blue­-flowered (not yet identified).

Remarks: Tribals use juice of leaves for tattooing purpose.